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Since the start of my work-at-home journey nearly nine years ago, I’ve received thousands of messages and emails.
Do you want to know what question people ask me the most?
They immediately ask to be given a job and ask when they can start making money. It happens so often, and it makes me so mad! 😡
I am not a big fan of handouts…
I’m a fan of empowering people to not constantly ask for help but instead learn how to solve their own problems.
So in this blog post, I’m going to share with you some of my top work-from-home tips so you can shortcut your way to success.
Are you ready for your first tip?
Tip #1: Don’t make it all about “you” — instead of the people who pay you.
I want you to REALLY think about that for a minute… Really think about what that actually means.
The BIGGEST problem I see a lot with people new to working at home is that they are so heavily focused on themselves that they don’t understand how “business” actually works.
Business is based on relationships. It’s transactional.
Business is the exchange of value for money. That is it! Nothing more complicated than that.
This concept is the same whether you work at home, whether you’re traveling, or whether you’re at a desk in an office.
You don’t get to make money until you can PROVE you offer value.
Some people just want to be paid! Making money is their #1 concern — and it shows… badly!😕
I have a short assignment for you. Are you ready for it?
I want you to think long and hard about this: does tip #1 sound like you?
Be honest with yourself.
The good news is, if the answer is yes, YOU have the power to change it! And I have more tips coming that will help you with this.
Tip #2: Start!
We’ve just talked about business being the exchange of VALUE for money.
Now we want to start…
👉Start thinking about what skills, what value, you already have.
👉 Start thinking about what you already do.
👉Start LEARNING about things you’re interested in BUT that will give you SKILLS (VALUE) that you can exchange for money.
👉Start researching jobs that appeal to you.
If you’re thinking, “Hey, I can’t do that; I can’t help anyone, I don’t have any skills,” then I’m gonna tell you that is a BIG, FAT, honkin’ excuse!
There are millions of problems in the world, and I guarantee you that you have the skills to solve at least some of them.
It might mean you need to ask some questions; it might mean you can’t be picky about the problems; and it might mean that — if you want to increase your income — you have to LEARN.
So the next action step is START.
👉 Write down what skills you already have.
👉 Write down what you’re interested in.
👉 Write down what skills you want to learn.
👉 Write down the jobs you have researched. What skills do they require that you already know you have OR CAN LEARN?
Ain’t that the truth!
Tip #3: Don’t expect overnight success with the PERFECT idea.
You need to put in the work to see results. You need to invest in yourself!
I mean, it’s AWESOME that you have an idea! That’s how you get started. But don’t expect it to be successful without putting in the work. Tons of wannabe freelancers never succeed because they don’t put in the work.
Procrastination might seem harmless, but at the end of the day… you’re sabotaging yourself.
Most freelancers are free spirits, which is GREAT news when you’ve got a plan and some structure for your work. But it’s TERRIBLE news if you don’t have a plan or any structure for your work.
If that’s you, if you lack the drive to even START your business, I have two strategies you can try.
The first one is the hardest…
- Schedule time to work each day. Actually schedule it!
If you’re thinking, “Ugh, that’ll never work. My schedule changes every day!” then plan the next day’s work time the night before!
- Start with something easy.
My second strategy to beat procrastination is a lot easier, especially if you’re struggling to get ANY work done at all (which is me most days!).
Make the task SO easy that you can’t say no. Do the littlest thing and call it a win because it IS a win! Be your OWN HERO!
When it comes to working, the hardest part is getting started.
Starting with the easiest task triggers your mind to get into work mode. Once your mind’s in work mode, you’ll find it’s much easier to keep working.
You can’t get traction and momentum by standing still. Traction and momentum require you to move.
YOU’VE GOT THIS!
If you’re having trouble, post in the Work-at-Home Heroes Facebook group and ask for support! That’s what the group is for! (The password is #Heroes.)
Tip #4: Keep learning!
One of the BIGGEST mistakes I see a lot of beginners making is not believing in their own ability to learn new skills.
This is simply NOT true.
A lot of newbies have a fixed mindset when it comes to what they’re able to do. Often the only thing stopping them is a lack of skills and the infamous excuse of “I don’t know how.”
I’ve got a newsflash for you…
EVERYONE didn’t know HOW at some stage! EVERYONE learned the skills they needed to succeed. Heck, some people need to learn the skill of how to talk to people! And that’s totally OKAY. Good on them for learning — for putting in the time.
Granted, some people learn faster than others, but so what? Is that a reason you shouldn’t or can’t do something?
Skills are what separate people who make very little money from the people who make a lot. And we ALL have the capacity to learn new skills.
Will it happen instantly? Nope! (see Tip #3). More skills make you more valuable and confident.
I like to say mo’ skills = mo’ money.
Tip #5: Accept that age is just a number
People always ask me if age plays a role in their success.
My opinion? You have a choice:
You can sit there and allow your age to stop you…
You can make a decision.
Think of it this way…
If you take a course to learn a new skill and it takes you two years to complete it, you’re going to be two years older anyway!
So you may as well learn the new skill IF you want to and IF you’re committed to success and moving in the direction of YOUR OWN choosing.
You CAN succeed no matter how old you are!
Example #1: Harland Sanders was nearly sixty years old when he began developing the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. He would spend days at a restaurant, perfecting his chicken technique, cooking for customers, and often even sleeping in the back of his car.
He went door-to-door to sell it. 🍗
At seventy-three, he sold KFC for $2 million to a group of investors. By this stage, there were over six hundred stores.
I think that’s pretty cool! 😎
Example #2: Carol Gardner was fifty-two when her husband left her. To top it off, she was massively in debt.
That’s when her divorce lawyer gave her the best piece of advice she ever received: “Get a therapist — or get a dog.” She chose the latter — an English bulldog she named Zelda.
A friend suggested that Gardner enter a local greeting card contest. The prize was one year’s worth of dog food. The card she entered featured Zelda dressed in a Santa costume, with the punchline: “For Christmas, I got a dog for my husband. Good trade, huh?”
She won the contest and won the public over with her adorable pooch, Zelda.
Zelda became a greeting card phenomenon and, eventually, Carol even built a licensing empire with Zelda. Zelda ended up ranking among the best sellers of all Hallmark cards.
Consequently, Carol became a millionaire.
Advice from Gardner: Turn your obstacle into an opportunity!
Her keys for success: Have your work mirror your passion. She said in relation to her journey getting started, “I wrote down everything that made me happy and that I was good at. My creative side is what I love to do.”
So there you have it!
Two examples of real people over the age of fifty who turned their obstacle into an opportunity!
Tip #6: Know that you can’t motivate yourself to succeed
Truth bomb: You can’t motivate yourself to succeed.
Everybody thinks success starts with motivation. At the beginning of every year, people start making their highly “motivated” New Year’s resolutions — resolutions they’ll finally keep this time. They think THIS time will be different.
Sound familiar to you?
Yeah, me too. Every year, I pat myself on the back that I’ve finally figured out a plan. I visualize the results I want in my mind, and I decide that I’m finally going to do what it takes to make it happen.
But then… I don’t make it happen.
And I think I’ve figured out why.
It’s because success doesn’t start with motivation, it starts with self-discipline.
Self-discipline may seem like the holy grail, but it’s simply taking action toward your goal, no matter what obstacles get in your way.
It doesn’t have anything to do with motivation — at least not at first.
You might be thinking, “Uhh, don’t I have to be motivated to take action?” No, you don’t!
You can’t rely on motivation!
Motivation is a fickle thing. It never sticks around for the long haul. Ask me how I know that. 🙂 You can’t rely on motivation to make you successful.
You can’t rely on motivation. But you CAN rely on self-discipline.
You can rely on your own consistent actions.
Self-discipline is what makes you show up every day — even when you don’t feel like it.
This part is CRITICAL.
Self-discipline is a commitment to yourself. It’s a decision you make. It doesn’t factor in feelings (like motivation) at all. And that’s why it actually works!
You can read my full article about why you can’t motivate yourself here.
Tip #7: Never give up
Did you ever get through something that you thought you just couldn’t get through? Like a really hard workout where you felt like you were going to die.
Or a new skill you learned that was just really hard and you thought you might not finish learning it, but then you pushed through and you did?
Or the day from hell where everything just went wrong, but you somehow got through it?
It can feel like you’re trying to scale a mountain without any equipment.
Not easy! But the sense of achievement when you get to the top is exhilarating. That’s what not giving up feels like.
Tip #8: Change your money stories
I have a question for you.
What are your stories about money?
The reason I ask is your work-at-home journey starts with what you believe about money.
That might be a little bit shocking, especially if you’ve had your stories with you for many decades thus far. The stories can feel like part of you. They’re not beliefs; they’re facts of life, right?
But they’re not facts. They’re only masquerading as such.
For whatever reason, I believed that making money doing something I enjoyed wasn’t possible for me.
It wasn’t all my fault. When I was growing up, I was taught that money doesn’t grow on trees… and that if I was “worth it” as a person, I had to know the “real” value of a dollar, didn’t I?
Whatever your stories are, know that they are myths. They are beliefs, and they are not true unless you allow them to affect your actions in a way that makes them true.
I want to invite you to consider a new possibility for your life.
What if you’re currently seeing the world through a tiny hole from within a dark cardboard box?
All kinds of possibilities exist outside the box, next to the box, on top of the box, under the box… and you can’t see them because you’ve only been looking through a tiny peephole. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
There are even possibilities inside the box — but because it’s dark inside, you can’t see those either.
Why is it so hard to let go of our stories?
What exists outside the box? The clients you don’t believe you can get.
Tip #9: Identify your perfect clients
Let’s do an exercise to identify your perfect clients.
Really digging into who your ideal client is will give you clarity so much faster than if you focus solely on what you want to do.
So are you ready to blow this up?
First, I want you to download and print out this PDF full of 77 clients eager to pay for your services, then circle 1–3 types of clients you’d like to serve.
We’re not worried about your skills quite yet. We’ll focus on those later.
If you’re having trouble, think about this: Who needs you? And who do you want to work with most?
Forget yourself for a moment.
Trust me, as someone who went from $0 to $200,000 per month in six years, “forget yourself” is actually the #1 piece of advice I can give you.
When I started, I focused only on my skill set. I made $400 per month, which was nice, but there was so much more out there for me.
When I started focusing on other people and what they needed from me, I grew my work-at-home income to $40,000+ per year and scaled it year after year from there.
The lesson? Help others achieve their dreams, and you will achieve yours.
So identify your ideal client right now — today! — then we’ll start talking about the problems you can solve for them. (This is when your skills come into play.)
Tip #10: Identify your skills
Now we’re going to find the people you’ll love to work with, who are cool and fun, and who have a company you’ll be proud to be a part of.
Because they do exist!
Earning more money and creating a better life is possible!
“I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.”
― Mae West
I think Mae West was onto something!
But as you just learned in Tip #8, you have to BELIEVE you deserve more money and a better life before you can subconsciously allow yourself to have them.
Then you’ll be able to find more of the types of clients you identified and actually start to earn money from them.
Ready to take action?
I want you to take the client types you circled on that sheet of paper and write each one down on the top of a blank sheet of paper.
So if “Food Bloggers” was one of your choices, you’d take a blank piece of paper and write “Food Bloggers” across the top.
Below each client type, brainstorm the specific needs each of these client types would have.
If you need ideas on where to start, here’s a list of 73 skills you can use to make money from home to help you.
Or, if you don’t know, you can ASK people in those target markets what kind of help they need. A lot of times, this is way more effective than brainstorming, and it works really well if you already know someone in your target niche.
Again, I don’t want you to focus only on what you have to offer.
Yes, they might need logo design, but they’ll need a lot more than that too. Some of it will be related to your already existing skill set, but some of it won’t.
That’s okay. Just write them out on a piece of paper until you’re out of ideas.
You’ll get a great bird’s eye view of their needs, which will really help you decide what skills to pitch to them.
Then, when you’re finished, I want you to go through each client type again and circle 1–3 of these “needs” that you can provide a solution to. These are your skills.
Tip #11: Keep going — even when you don’t feel like it
If I had a dollar for every time I didn’t feel like doing something, I could eat at the fanciest restaurant in town EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK!
Luckily for me, I DON’T do that for the sake of progress AND my waistline! Instead, I push through the “I don’t feel like it” thoughts, and I DO IT anyway, whatever IT is! 👊
It’s not always easy, and no, I don’t always love doing every task. Sometimes it’s really hard. And I just want to stay in bed under the covers all day.
What I’ve realized is, I don’t have to LOVE ALL of it. But I still need to DO IT if I want to get where I’m going.
When we’re learning new skills and building up our list as a beginner, we can’t let the slog of learning, the “no” responses, or the lack of traction everybody deals with in the beginning cause us to stop trying.
Most people who think they have failed at something never failed at all; they just gave up…
Everybody starts their business as a beginner with zero clients.
Everybody deals with rejections and roadblocks.
It’s the people who keep going even when it feels like they’re getting nowhere — even when they get rejected over and over again — who eventually get exactly what they want.
True or false?
Sometimes it’s hard to keep going, but that’s how success is made.
Tip #12: Change your mindset
I wanted to share something with you about mindset.
Once upon a time, in what feels like a past life, I felt completely hopeless. It took me a looong time to transform my own self-defeating mindset into an empowering one.
I want you to know that there’s HOPE, and I’m here to share that hope with you today.
I’ve been to hell and back with my mindset, and I can tell you, it’s not permanent unless you let it be.
I recently spoke with eight students who enrolled in Work-At-Home School last year.
Most of them are at the stage where they have earned back their investment with their work-at-home ventures.
I noticed a profound difference in all of these students that had nothing to do with money.
Can you guess what it was?
All of the people I spoke with, without exception, reported a shift in their mindset. They now know they can have a different life than the life they had before.
Did any of them get through it or achieve this without putting in a TON of work?
Absolutely not. They all worked their butts off. But THEY did it.
If you’re interested in finding out more, check out Work-At-Home School.
Tip #13: Understand that the market is not saturated
Want to hear one of my “favorite” lies about working from home?
People still worry there’s not enough opportunity left for them…
Despite the fact that more than HALF of the workforce will be working at home in ten years’ time.
So many good people stop themselves from trying to work at home because they assume the online job market is exactly like the 9-to-5 job market. You know, where jobs are hard to come by and you have to thank your lucky stars for any scraps that get thrown your way.
Scraps are for garbage pickers… and that’s not you.
The thing is, the internet is growing fast.
Not only are more traditional companies opting to hire more freelancers and remote contractors to work for them via the internet, but so many web-based micro-businesses are cropping up — and the owners of these businesses can’t do it all themselves.
Trust me. I’m one of them! ✋
In my own small business, I pay out something like $40K every month to 20+ freelancers at any given time. And I’m nowhere close to being the biggest online business out there.
The point of sharing this is to show you I’m not full of crap. I know there’s work out there because my business creates that work for people every day.
Plus, the internet gets about a million new users every day, and as the user-base grows, so do the businesses that sell to that user-base.
Know what I’m saying?
Freelance copywriter Adrienne thought the online world was completely saturated with freelancers like her, and she didn’t think she’d find any clients.
“I thought everyone had already accomplished all there was to accomplish,” she said, “but I found out that’s not true! I know there’s no such thing as a completely saturated market as long as you target your specific audience.”
It’s often better to be a specialist rather than a generalist; that is, focus on selling a few skills instead of all the skills.
And as someone who built an empire in what some would say is the tiniest niche on Earth — proofreading — I think Adrienne’s right.
Let me be super duper 100% crystal clear with you: there will always be opportunities for the people who are willing to learn skills and use those skills to solve other people’s problems.
Tip #14: Don’t stop listening
I know sometimes people trying to help you can come off a little preachy (like me!), but sometimes we need to hear things a few times before they sink in.
I know I do sometimes! 😁
So keep listening. Remain open to learning new things. The message might not get through the first time, but it’ll get in there eventually.
Tip #15: Niche down
I’m sometimes like a broken record when it comes to talking about niching down.
Remember what I just said about being a specialist rather than a generalist? Specialization is what will set you apart.
Take virtual assisting, for example: A Jack/Jill-of-all-trades VA who does a little of everything will earn less than a VA who specializes in two or three high-level skills. The rate for an administrative VA will start at between $10–$15 per hour depending on the company, and a more advanced VA can easily charge $20, $30, $40 or more per hour depending on the skill.
I wanted to share a podcast I recorded with a lovely woman named Blayne Bristol. I love this episode because Blayne talks about how she serves her specific niche – social media management for commercial real estate.
I hope this epic list of work-from-home tips didn’t scare you away! I want you to take each of these tips and use them to hack your success. Learning from the people who’ve gone before you is the best way to shortcut your way to success and avoid some of the biggest mistakes you can make! Check out Part 2 where I’m sharing 16 more work-from-home tips!
If you’re pumped up to get started on your work from home journey, check out Work-At-Home School. It’s packed full of courses that will help you learn new skills and start a business!